Although our understanding of clusters and their contribution to economic performance has improved over the last three decades, the literature has become host to a wide array of divergent empirical and theoretical claims. We systematically review cluster studies published in top journals, highlighting the lack of integration among prior work. We focus on the ways in which Porter's three cluster dimensions, namely geography, networks, and institutions, have been utilized. None of the studies reviewed fully captured their complex interrelationships, which we argue is an important cause of the key disagreements in the literature. Configurational theorizing and analysis are presented as means by which the different approaches to cluster studies could be reconciled. We discuss how the application of a configurational approach can help explore new scholarly directions that can deepen our understanding of clusters and their performance-enhancing potential. In doing so, we can move beyond an understanding of independent effects to emphasizing combinations of attributes that can generate multiple pathways to cluster performance outcomes.
- QUALITATIVE COMPARATIVE-ANALYSIS
- UNIVERSITY-INDUSTRY LINKAGES
- FIRM PERFORMANCE
- KNOWLEDGE CREATION
- GLOBAL PIPELINES